For this November’s Nano Wrimo novel, I decided to write a nonfiction account about Catherine of Braganza. (Click here for my 2014 post about Catherine.) The Queen’s overall story is not about being the wife of a faithless husband. It’s more about doing what’s best for her country. And it is a love story, but not the way people think. I read secondary sources about Catherine falling helplessly in love with her husband. I don’t think that was the case. There were other people she cared about and loved more.
I’ve enjoyed reading about her relationship with her family members. One of my favorite discoveries was found in The Memoirs of Ann, Lady Fanshawe. Lady Ann’s husband served as an ambassador to Portugal. The Fanshawe family visited Portugal shortly after the royal wedding and meeting Catherine in England. I found it touching when Lady Ann talked about interacting with Queen Luisa, Catherine’s mother,
Luisa asked about Catherine’s health and passed on a gift that Lady Ann needed to give to Catherine.
A few months later, Lady Ann did what Queen Luisa asked. Catherine received it “with great expressions of kindness.” Lady Ann recorded she stayed with Catherine for an hour and half, “which time Her Majesty (Catherine) spent in asking questions of her mother, brothers, and country.”
The passage wasn’t sappy but a matter of fact. I find Lady Ann’s account sentimental because this situation has occurred in my life a few times. Just a couple months ago, a family friend passed through town and passed on a gift from my folks. We talked about home town news but more about little family things like dogs and upcoming weddings. Some serious, some silly things. It’s nice when home comes to you.
Portrait of Luisa Francisca de Guzman by Alanzo Cano
Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England by Peter Lely